To get the most from your health plan for a planned hospital stay—with the lowest out-of-pocket cost—follow these steps.
1. Make sure your hospital and doctors are in your network.
To save money, find out if your hospital and doctors are in the network for your plan. Because most hospital care often comes from more than one doctor, for example a surgeon and an anesthesiologist, it’s good to know which are in your network.
To know if your hospital and doctors are in-network:
Log in at azblue.com/member, and click the "Find a Doctor" button, or call BCBSAZ customer service at the number on the back of your member ID card.
Why out-of-network healthcare professionals often cost more:
Out-of-network healthcare professionals are not bound to accept the amount BCBSAZ allows its in-network providers to charge for care. When you see someone out-of-network, you will still owe the difference between the amount they charge and the amount BCBSAZ allows. This is called a “balance bill” (i.e., you’re being billed the balance due over what BCBSAZ will cover), and it can be expensive*.
HMO members must use in-network doctors to be covered, except in an emergency.
*For most plans, BCBSAZ will pay billed charges for out-of-network emergency care.
2. Get estimates for healthcare costs.
Sign into your member account at azblue.com/member and click "Get Estimates for Healthcare Costs" to get hospital details such as:
- Cost estimates
- Treatment time frames
- Comparison of treatment options
3. Meet with your doctor to coordinate care and prepare for your stay.
For many planned hospital stays, there are a lot of things to consider in advance. Your doctor can help you be better prepared for your visit.